Sen. Hillary Clinton's ascension to the post of Secretary of State has never really been in doubt, even after Sen. John Cornyn put a hold on a confirmation vote yesterday.
But on Wednesday, the New York Democrat and by extension Barack Obama got a bit of a political assist from the Republican party's former figurehead. Appearing on the Senate floor shortly after noon, Sen. John McCain praised his former colleague - with whom he has always shared a close relationship. But he went a step further as well, pushing forward the Obama inauguration meme that now was a time for setting aside "childish things." Said the Arizona Republican:
I would remind all my colleagues, we had an election and we also had a remarkable and historic time yesterday as this nation has come together in a way that it has not in some time. I like all good politicians pay attention to the president's approval ratings. They are very high. But more importantly, I think the message that the American people are sending us right now is that they want us to work together and get to work. I think we ought to let Senator Clinton, who is obviously qualified and obviously will serve, get to work immediately. And so I would ask unanimous consent at the completion of the remarks that any of my colleagues might have, that we initiate the vote at 4:30 and proceed by voice vote to the confirmation of Senator Hillary Clinton to be the next secretary of state of the United States of America.
A few speakers later, McCain's longtime friend and close confidant, Sen. Lindsey Graham also took to the floor to call for Clinton's nomination. "We have a new president," said the South Carolina Republican. "The campaign is over but the wars are not... I think this new president deserves to have his team in place and I cannot think of a better choice for Secretary of State. He has made his choice, the committee has acted, and I do hope that the Senate acts judiciously after lunch."
Clinton, in sheer political terms, doesn't really need either McCain or Grahams support. Cornyn, himself, said he would back her nomination but wants more transparency when it comes to the donors to her husband's initiatives. Ranking Republican Richard Lugar has offered similar concerns. But, all told, the former first lady seems like to breeze her way into Foggy Bottom later Wednesday.
But the quickness with which both McCain and Graham have become political allies in the Obama cause is something to behold. Certainly, it affects the debate that has been waged among progressive over the utility of the president's often-public GOP outreach. On Monday night, Obama headlined a dinner honoring McCain's service.
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